What To Do If You Have Problems Voting
Uncounted News & Alerts
Stop, Drop and Poll- What to Do if You Have Problems Voting
Anecdotal evidence is coming in fast and furious of early-voting incidences including voting machine malfunctions in Ohio, Putnam, and Jackson Counties in West Virginia, Davidson and Decatur Counties in Tennessee, as well as hidden problems with "straight ticket" voting (confirmed by Snopes) in Texas and West Virginia. A more complete list of the problems so far can be found at VotersUnite.org.
It CAN happen to you. If it does, here are a few suggestions on what to do:
1) Video Your Vote If possible, plan ahead for any problems by bringing a video camera with you to Video the Vote. Then, spread it around (send it to us and we'll help). Remember, the focus should be on gathering evidence and not telling stories. So, use video, audio, photographs, get names and phone numbers of witnesses, as well as voting machine serial numbers, names of poll workers, and document the time of day.
2) At the First Sign of a Problem, Stop* At the first sign of a problem with your machine (or if you have any other problem listed below), stop what you are doing and ask to speak to the supervisor (skip the poll worker) at your polling location. Explain your problem. If they try and waive you off, call your main election commission number and ask to speak to the election commissioner until your problem is satisfactorily addressed. Keep in mind that many poll workers/supervisors will try and blame the voter aka "operator error." Do not leave your polling place until your problem is well-documented and addressed to your complete satisfaction and, if the problem is with the machine, that the machine is quarantined. Oh, and you get to vote.
3) File a Report. File Several Reports. Your local polling place will have incident reports available to you. If they do not, call the main election commission for your county and ask for someone to bring one to you. Make sure that both you and the supervisor sign it. An example of a report is here (Hat tip: Wake Up and Save Your Country Voters Guide). The U.S. Election Assistance Commission also lists on their website where you can find out how to file a report in your state. Again, the Lawyer's Committee for Civil Rights Election Protection Hotline at 1-866-Our-Vote can also help with any questions in this area.
4) Call the Election Protection Hotline Report you incident to the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Election Protection Hotline at 1-866-Our-Vote, especially if you feel you are being bullied or your incident is not being taken seriously. The ACLU has a hotline as well at 1-877-523-2792. Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., and Greg Palast offer suggestions as well in their comic StealBackYourVote.org.
5) Pledge to Stand Up to Stolen Elections Go to NoMoreStolenElections.org and pledge to not concede until every vote is counted - and counted as cast.
*Problems can include: machine problems, polling place problems (machines not set up on time), switching or closing of polling place, voters forced to vote on a provisional ballot, long lines/waits, intimidation, unusual ID demands, poll workers asking inappropriate questions, etc.
Steal Back Your Vote
In June 2006, Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., wrote “Was the 2004 Election Stolen?” for Rolling Stone, and followed it up in September 2006 with, “Will The Next Election Be Hacked?.” He’s back, this time with investigative journalist Greg Palast (author of The Best Democracy Money Can Buy), with another chapter in his bid to save our democracy, “Block the Vote (Will the GOP’s campaign to deter new voters and discard Democratic ballots determine the next president?). Go here for the highlights.
Kennedy and Palast also add seven ways to steal back the election in another collaboration - a full color downloadable comic called, “Steal Back Your Vote.” This one’s a how-to guide:
STEP 1: DON’T DON’T DON’T mail
in your ballot!!
STEP 2: VOTE EARLY...VERY EARLY!
STEP 3: REGISTER AND THEN REGISTER AND THEN REGISTER! [For most states. the registration deadlines have passed. So CHECK YOUR VOTER REGISTRATION! at VotersUnite.org. Some states have a way to check online, others you will have to call. If you find you are no long on the rolls, go down to your election commission and sort it out in person.]
STEP 4: DO NOT FILL OUT A PROVISIONAL BALLOT
STEP 5: STEP AWAY FROM YOUR COMPUTER!
STEP 6: FRIENDS DON’T LET FRIENDS VOTE WITHOUT FRIENDS!
STEP 7: IT AIN’T OVER ‘TILL IT’S OVER!